I Just Found a Lump.

Is It Tes­tic­u­lar Can­cer?

Wellness Update - - Health Watch MD -

It can be an em­bar­rass­ing thing for a guy to call his doc­tor about a lump or swelling on his tes­ti­cles, but it’s im­por­tant to do. Whether it’s painful or not, a mass on the tes­ti­cle is the most com­mon early sig­nal of tes­tic­u­lar can­cer, and should prompt an im­me­di­ate call to the doc­tor. It of­ten strikes young men — most com­monly be­tween the ages of 15 and 45 — who don’t even sus­pect it might be can­cer. Too of­ten, nei­ther do their pri­mary care physi­cians. “It’s usu­ally in­ter­preted as an in­fec­tion by the pa­tient and the physi­cian so they’ll start a long course of an­tibi­otics,” says urol­o­gist An­drew Stephen­son, MD, who spe­cial­izes in can­cers of the prostate, blad­der and testis. “They might wait four to six weeks to see if he re­sponds to the an­tibi­otics, but for a rapidly grow­ing can­cer like tes­tic­u­lar can­cer, those four to six weeks can be very im­por­tant.”

What to watch for

“It’s ac­tu­ally pretty un­com­mon for an oth­er­wise healthy man of that age to de­velop a testis in­fec­tion,” Dr. Stephen­son says. “If I find a firm mass on the testes in a man who’s 15 to 45, I con­sider that to be tes­tic­u­lar can­cer un­til proven oth­er­wise.” That’s not the only pos­si­ble warn­ing sign. Since tes­tic­u­lar can­cer gen­er­ates the fe­male hor­mone hCG, it can cause swelling or ten­der­ness of a man’s breasts. If the can­cer has started to spread, Dr. Stephen­son says, men might have ab­dom­i­nal or back pain or even a swelling in the neck. Guys who were born with an un­de­scended tes­ti­cle are among those at great­est risk, so Dr. Stephen­son en­cour­ages par­ents to talk with their sons about the warn­ing signs of tes­tic­u­lar can­cer as soon as they hit pu­berty.

Easy di­ag­no­sis, highly cur­able

Di­ag­nos­ing tes­tic­u­lar can­cer is as easy as do­ing an ul­tra­sound, and re­sults are nearly im­me­di­ate. Treat­ment is straight­for­ward as well — re­moval of the tes­ti­cle — and is usu­ally enough to cure the dis­ease. “Los­ing a tes­ti­cle is some­thing no man wants to have hap­pen, but there’s func­tion­ally no im­por­tant con­se­quence of re­moval,” he says. “Their fer­til­ity po­ten­tial is un­af­fected, their male sex hor­mone lev­els are un­af­fected, and about half of men have a tes­ti­cle pros­the­sis so they have the ap­pear­ance of two.” -This in­for­ma­tion pro­vided courtesy of Cleve­land Clinic Health Hub

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